Drue Allen is a freelance writer and the author of a romance that, according to Jordan Dane, bestselling author of The Wrong Side of Dead, "...delivers a frightening scenario of bio-terrorism in one sexy read..." It also has a terrific opening paragraph.
Who is the one person who most encouraged or influenced you to be a writer—and why?
My parents have always been extremely encouraging. Also, my grandmother published home economics textbooks in the 1950s that were used across the United States and translated into many different languages. I can remember sitting as a child, with those books in my lap—my fingers tracing the Chinese letters, and thinking about those words being her words. I was awed by that and wanted to grow up to be just like her.
What do you like best about writing romance?
I like the joy of it—the hope. Many of us have difficult jobs, tough family situations, health issues. Life is just plain hard. I write romantic thrillers, which might seem like an odd way to escape from a hard reality, but my stories always swirl around a man and woman who must learn to trust and depend on each other. I totally dig that about romance.
How many books did you write before becoming published? Tell us about some of the trials and triumphs?
Ack! More than I thought I would. I THOUGHT my first story would be published because it was so damn good—ha ha ha. The Cost of Love was my fifth completed manuscript. You know, there was a day where I decided I should take up bowling or some more useful hobby. Working 10 hours a day, then writing another 4 makes you question yourself at times. I began writing freelance in 1999, the novel bug hit in 2003, and I received my first contest win in 2004 (Abilene Writers Guild—final judge was Tess Gerritsen, and no—I did not realize what an honor that was at the time). By the fall of 2006, I was so discouraged that I hadn’t sold, I was ready to quit. I was in a horrible job, and I was winning RWA chapter contests right and left, but no contract offers and no agent offers.
Then in the winter of 2006 I decided to take a trip to Florida to accept the Golden Palm award for first place in the romantic suspense category. That sweet group of folks rekindled the fire in me to keep writing. More importantly, they helped me believe that my dream of becoming a published writer was possible. I went home and finished the book I was working on—The Cost of Love. I was offered a contract with my current agent 2 years later and a contract for The Cost of Love six months after that.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a writer?
Undoubtedly, time. It’s so hard to balance a full time job, writing, and the REST of my life. That last category is very important to me, but there’s a temptation to neglect it—I don’t want to be that person who has twenty bestsellers on the shelf but no family around. There are a lot of things I enjoy in addition to writing—like hiking, kayaking, fishing, gardening, dancing…the list goes on. And those things I enjoy really do make my writing richer. So while there’s a temptation for me to tape my fingers to the keyboard and refuse to budge, I have to force myself to back away at times. Balance is the key to much happiness, and ultimately—I believe—success.
Tell us about The Cost of Love, when it was released, and where we can buy it.
The Cost of Love is a wonderful, sexy thriller set in the dusty town of Roswell, New Mexico. I was hiking in the Guadalupe Mountains with some friends, and we decided to drive up to Roswell for a look-see. I was instantly captivated by the area. There’s so much history in Roswell, and so much room for imagination. My characters are accustomed to living with the lore, but it also plays a big part in the biological terror that is about to be unleashed—not just on them but on the country at large. I have repeatedly had first readers email me in the middle of this book to say that they will not speak to me again if I’ve “done anything” to either Lucy or Dean. Lucinda Brown and Dean Dreiser are characters who work their way into your heart and stay there after you reach the last page. The Cost of Love will be released by Five Star Press in March and will be available through your local library or at BarnesandNoble.com or Amazon.com
What are you working on now and when/where do you expect it to be available?
I’m currently working on The Edge of Love, a sequel set in the Pacific Northwest. This time the threat is cyber instead of biological, but the terror is no less real—threatening to destroy the electrical grid for the entire western half of the United States. Our main characters are Jazmine Petit and Cole Bishop. The attack begins at Puget Sound and cascades across the country, but the battle will be fought in the remotest area of Olypmic National Park, where roads are few in some places, nonexistent in most and glaciers abound. Where terror waits. The climb to the top of Mount Olympus will take Jazmine and Cole past the brink of their endurance. It will also take them to The Edge of Love.
Writers, especially new writers, are always looking for tips and helpful information. What is the single most important “tip” you can give to a new writer?
Control your time—it’s the only thing you CAN control. No one will send you an award for Spider Solitaire, so just give it up. You want to be a writer, so write. Control your time, and keep the first things first.
What writers organizations claim you as a member? What personal/professional benefits have you received from membership in these organizations?
RWA has been an amazing support to me. I’ve received over thirty chapter awards now, and each time the people have been just lovely with both their congratulations and their feedback. I’d like to add, that one of my harsher critiques from a contest early-on (yes, for The Cost of Love) has become a very good friend…all because I sent a thank you note through the contest coordinator. She’s a best-selling author, and has been a fabulous mentor to me. Also, I’ve been amazed at how kind PAN members have been with their advice and their help.
ITW (International Thriller Writers) has also been wonderful in helping to promote me as a debut writer. They offer a Debut Author’s forum and have helped me to establish connections across genres.
Missouri RWA – I’m proud to be a mentor for Missouri RWA. I think this is a wonderful venture that pairs published authors with pre-pubbed authors, and it’s been a fun learning experience for me.
Do you have any upcoming book signings or appearances? If so, give us all the details.
Since my book debuts in March, I am only beginning to set up blog tours, book signings, and interviews. I invite readers to check my blog and webpage for upcoming events.
Here’s your opportunity to tell us anything else you care to share.
When you hear the odds of becoming published, you want to throw in the proverbial dishtowel, but every time I hear those odds it’s like waving a red flag in front of a Texas longhorn. First of all, I’ve taken basic statistics, and I know they can be skewed to mean whatever the statistician is trying to prove. Secondly, don’t mess with my dream. I’ll be practical, and I’ll work hard, but I know it’s possible because others have done it.
Logically, I believe those stats are what they are, because many of the writers submitting do not do their homework. They do not prepare. They do not attend classes, go to conferences, work on their craft, close the solitaire game, join writers groups, read and adhere to submission guidelines and write another manuscript. Each time you do those things, YOUR odds become statistically better—so just keep writing.
What are the addresses of your website(s) and blog(s):